Artists 2017

Helsingfors kammarkör. Bild: Markku Pihlaja Helsinki Chamber Choir. Photo: Markku Pihlaja

Helsinki Chamber Choir

The Helsinki Chamber Choir (Helsingin kamarikuoro) was founded in 1962 as the Finnish Radio Chamber Choir and assumed its current name in 2005. It is currently Finland’s only professional chamber choir.

The choir’s Artistic Director from 2005–2007 was Kimmo Hakola. Since 2007 Nils Schweckendiek has been responsible for the group’s artistic planning.

While its wide-ranging repertoire includes music from the Renaissance to the present day, the Helsinki Chamber Choir is particularly highly regarded for its work with new music. The choir regularly commissions new works and has given over 50 world premieres in the seasons since 2005, as well as more than 30 Finnish first performances. The choir appears frequently at major Finnish music festivals and collaborates with orchestras and Baroque and contemporary music ensembles. Recent touring has included concerts in Russia, Estonia and Belgium.

The Helsinki Chamber Choir’s concerts are regularly broadcast on radio and television, both nationally and internationally. Particular highlights have been televised performances on the international cultural channel ARTE of Michael Haydn’s Requiem in 2006 and Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Vigilia in 2013.

The Helsinki Chamber Choir’s recording of Magnus Lindberg’s Graffiti (with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Sakari Oramo) was nominated for a Grammy in the contemporary music category in 2010. During its days as the Finnish Radio Chamber Choir, the group recorded a number of CDs for the Ondine label, including Rautavaara’s complete works for mixed a cappella choir. The choir’s most recent appearance on CD is in the world premiere recording of Veli-Matti Puumala’s opera Anna Liisa (to be released in May 2015). A number of other recordings will appear in the near future.

Since 2012 the Helsinki Chamber Choir has been a member of Tenso, the association of European professional chamber choirs.

The Finnish Radio Chamber Choir’s principal conductors were Harald Andersén, Kaj-Erik Gustafsson, Ilmo Riihimäki, Eric-Olof Söderström and Timo Nuoranne. Alongside Nils Schweckendiek, in recent years the choir has worked with conductors including Kaspars Putnins, Fredrik Malmberg, Eric-Olof Söderström, Andres Mustonen, Olari Elts, Rachid Safir, Tim Brown, Anne Azéma, Aapo Häkkinen, James Wood and Rinaldo Alessandrini. 


Nils Schweckendiek studied music at Clare College, Cambridge, and orchestral and choral conducting in Freiburg and Helsinki. In 2006 he made his debut at the Finnish National Opera with Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier and subsequently conducted numerous opera and ballet performances at the same house. Guest performances have taken him to the Leipzig Opera (Der Rosenkavalier), the Savonlinna Opera Festival, Vaasa, Berne and Bielefeld. From 2009-2013 he was the conductor of the Ulm Opera, where he conducted first nights of, amongst others, Don Carlo (Verdi), Ariodante (Handel), Romeo and Juliet (Prokofiev), Der Ring an einem Abend (Wagner) and Le sacre du printemps (Stravinsky). Recent guest conducting has included the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Oulu Sinfonia, the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, Lapland Chamber Orchestra, the Finnish Baroque Orchestra, and defunensemble.

Nils Schweckendiek is committed to performing the music of our time and has conducted around ninety first performances, including music theatre, orchestral, choral and ensemble works. In 2013 his performance of Einojuhani Rautavaara’s monumental Vigilia with the Helsinki Chamber Choir was televised on ARTE. His CD of music by Beat Furrer with the Uusinta Ensemble and the Helsinki Chamber Choir featured on numerous lists of the best recordings of 2016, including Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik (Germany), the Sunday Times (UK), Hufvudstadsbladet (Finland) and YLE (Finland).

Since 2007 Nils Schweckendiek has been Artistic Director of the Helsinki Chamber Choir, which he has taken on tours to the United States, Scandinavia, Belgium, Russia and Estonia. In 2014 he was appointed Professor of Choral Conducting at the University of the Arts (Sibelius Academy) in Helsinki and from 2017 he will be Artistic Director of the Choir of the Helsinki Music Centre. He has also worked with the SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart, Danish Radio National Concert Choir, Mannheim Opera Choir, Netherlands Radio Choir, and Croatian Radio and TV Choir. He is Founder and Artistic Director of the International Einojuhani Rautavaara Composition Competition, which was first held in 2012 and again in 2016.

Photo: Marco Borggreve Photo: Marco Borggreve

Johanna Almark Mannila

Johanna Almark Mannila

Henrica Fagerlund

Kaarle Mannila

Henrik Wikström


Nonna Knuuttila, violin | Artistic director

Nonna Knuuttila started her violinstudies at the age of 5 with prof. Geza Szilvay at the East Helsinki Music Institute. She has studied with Riitta Poutanen and Ari Angervo in West Helsinki Music Institute and with Seppo Tukiainen at the Sibelius Academy. Nonna was a member of the famous Kuhmo Violinschool, where selected young finnish violinists were tought for four years by Zinaida Gilels, Pavel Vernikov and Ilja Grubert. Nonna studied at the Rotterdams Conservatorium with Ilja Grubert where she also made her soloist diploma in 1999. Nonna won a third prize in the Juhani Heinonen violin competition for youth in Finland in 1986 and the international Vincenzo Bellini competition together with pianist Junio Kimanen in 1990. In 1997 she was awarded with a “Chambermusic prize 1997” in De Doelen concert center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, where she gave a recital with pianist Sander Sittig. During the years 2000-2005 Nonna was a primas in Kandinsky String Quartet in Belgium and they gave regularly concerts in Belgium and the Middle Europe. Kandinsky Quartet also recorded flemish music, for example Frits Celis: String quartets (Phaedra).

During 2001-2007 Nonna was a primas in Barcelona Collage chamber music group in Spain and a concertmaster of the Porta Ferrada festival orchestra. Barcelona Collage had their own childrens concert serie in Liceu theatre in Barcelona, where one of the productions was S. Prokofjevs Peter and the wolf tale. Some of the highlights of Barcelona Collages performances were a visit to the centre of Arts Belgais and home of the pianist Maria Joao Pires, in Portugal, where they gave several concerts and their own concert in Circulo des Bellas Artes in Madrid where they did Schönbergs Transfigured Night together with light artists and dancers.

During 2000-2002 Nonna was a primas in Champ D’Action contemporary music group in Belgium and recorded together with the ensemble Kaija Saariahos piece Solar.

Nonna was a leader of 2nd violingroup in the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by maestro Valery Gergiev in 2005-2009 in the Netherlands. In 2004 Nonna was a concermaster in the Flemish Opera Orchestra. Last years she has performed for example in Gergiev Festival in Rotterdam, Gironas contemporary music festival together with Isaac Rodriquez, Cordoba music festival (also masterclass) Festival van Vlaanderen in Belgium and Loviisa Sibeliusdays in Finland.

Nonna and pianist Ruusamari Teppo gave many concerts last years performing unpublished youthworks by Jean Sibelius and Armas Järnefelt.

Nonna lived and worked a long time in Holland and Belgium (1992-2009) and gave regularly concerts as a soloist and chamber musician around Europe. Since 2009 Nonna lives in Finland and is the Artistic Director of Music by the Sea Festival in Inkoo. Nonna also works as a lecturer of violin at the Espoo Music Institute. Since 2010 Nonna works as a leader of 2nd violins in the LCO (Le Concert Olympique) in Belgium; an orchestra founded by flemish Beethoven specialist Jan Caeyers.

Nonna Knuuttilas violin is a Vincenzo Panormo from 1752.

Marianne Gustafsson Burgmann, organ

Marianne Gustafsson Burgmann (M.M) studied church and organ music, and choral conducting at the Sibelius Academy from 1990 to 1998. She took her A-level diploma in organ music at the Sibelius Academy in 1996 and her concert and soloist diploma at the School of Music in Piteå, Sweden, in 1998. She gave her first solo concert in Helsinki Cathedral in 2000. In 2010 she took the B-level diploma in choral conducting at the Sibelius Academy. Marianne Gustafsson Burgmann has given concerts as a soloist as well as together with several choirs and solo artists in Finland, Sweden, the Baltic countries and the Czech Republic. She has recorded for the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) and her solo album, where she plays the organ in the church of Inkoo, came out in 2001. She has worked as the cantor in Inkoo church since February 2000.

Marianne G B

Kirill Kozlovski, piano

Kiril. Kozlovski was born in 1981 in Mogilev. He has been studying the piano at the Music Academy of Belarus and at the Sibelius Academy in Finland. He graduated from the Sibelius Academy in 2005. Kozlovski has successfully taken part in several piano competitions, among which the first place in Jyväskylä piano competition in 2004, the first place in the “Ciutat de Mallorca” piano competition in 2003 and the first place in the piano competition of the Chopin Center in Paris in 1998 are just a few to mention.  In November 2004 he was chosen Young Artist of the year 2005 by Finland Festivals.


Maija Linkola, violin

Maija Linkola started playing the violin in Helsinki when she was four years old; she has been studying at the Sibelius Academy since 1995. Linkola has been the soloist of Tapiola Sinfonietta and Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra among others and she has been playing first violin in the Orchestra of the Finnish National Opera since 2006. In spring 2015 she worked as the leader of 2nd violin of the Helsinki City Orchestra. She performes actively with several ensemble, such as Virtuosi di Kuhmo, Avanti!, Tiksola co. Sid Hille collective and Maj piano trio. She has also been touring the Finnish summer events with her ensemble Nasevat Kurtut since 2004.


Tomas Nuñez-Garcés, cello

Tomaz Nuñez-Garcés (born 1984) started to play the cello at the age of 6 in the music institute of Åland. From there he transferred to the Turun Konservatorio and later to the youth programme at the Sibelius Academy. In 2003 he started his master’s studies at the Academy and he has had Jacob Lind, Timo Hanhinen, Hannu Kiiski and Marko Ylönen as teachers. Nuñez-Garcés has participated in several master classes both in Finland and abroad.

A part from recitals Nuñez-Garcés has performed in orchestras and chambermusic ensembles and as a soloist in Finland, Sweden, the US, Germany, the Czech Republic and Japan. He plays in the Postiglione quartet that won an international string quartet competition in Rovaniemi in 2009. In 2010 he won the first prize in the XI Turku Cello competition. He has been working as the 2nd solo cellist at the Finnish National Opera since the spring of 2010, first as second solo cellist, and from 2011 as first solo cellist. Currently he works as first solo cellist of the Helsinki City Orchestra.

Nuñez-Garcés plays a Giacomo Rivolta cello owned by the Pro Filharmonia foundation.


Isaac Rodriguez, clarinet

Isaac Rodriguez is a remarkably versatile musician who enjoys a lively concert career that embraces his activity as clarinettist on modern and historical instruments on a rare equal strength.

Born in Barcelona in 1978. He started his musical studies at the “Conservatori Professional de Música de Badalona”. He later went to Nice to study at the “Conservatoire National de Région de Nice” with the clarinettist Michel Lethiec where he completed the superior degree. He finished his studies obtaining the First Prize with unanimity. During this period he attended to master-classes given by Hans Deinzer (Germany) and Charles Neidich (USA).

During the last years of his musical career Isaac Rodríguez has participed in many national chamber music competitions, in which he has always been awarded with the first prize and given many recitals.

In 1999 he recived the First Prize in the most important Spanish competition “Concurso Permanente de Juventudes Musicales de España” (modality woodwind soloists). Some months later he won the third prize of the international competiton “Jugend Musiziert” (Weimar 1999). As a member of the wind quintet “Miró Ensemble he won the First Prize with unanimity and the “Publikum prize” in the ARD Munich competition (Munich 2001).

He has been principal clarinet of the “Orquesta Ciudad de Granada”, then he hold the same position at the “Orquesta Sinfonica de Castilla y Leon”.

Nowadays, Isaac Rodríguez is teaching clarinet and chamber music for high degree and postgraduate at “Conservatori Superior de Música del Liceu de Barcelona”, and he is also demanded to teach in many youth orchestras such as National Youth Orchestra of Catalunya and  Youth Orchestra National of Spain.  He is Principal clarinet guest at “Orquesta del Gran Teatre del Liceu” and “Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble” and principal clarinet at “BandArt Orchestra”.

Isaac R 1

David Quiggle, viola

Born in the Pacific northwest, American violist David Quiggle now lives in Spain, where has been a leading violist, chamber musician and teacher for more than 20 years.  As a member of the Casals Quartet he toured Europe and South America, and won top prizes in the London, Hamburg, and Paolo Borciani string quartet competitions.

As a member of the mixed chamber music ensemble, La Bande de la Loingtaine, he has performed in France, Belgium Singapore and Japan. He has performed in chamber music festivals across the globe, and recent solo performances include the Bartok Viola Concerto with the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, Hindemith´s “Der Schwanendreher” with the Medellin Philharmonic, and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante in Madrid and Valladolid with violinists Gordan Nikolic and Alina Ibragimova. He is one of the founders and the principal viola of bandArt, and has been a frequent guest principal with groups such as the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, or the London Philharmonic.

David studied violin, viola, and string quartet at the Vancouver Academy of Music, the New England Conservatory, and the Musikhochschule of Cologne.  His teachers include Walter Trampler, Gwen Thompson, Walter Levin, Louis Krasner, Eugene Lehner, and the members of the Alban Berg Quartet.

When not playing classical music, David actively explores other musical genres, which has led to collaborations with many of Spain´s leading musicians and dancers.

Since 2006, David has been working with the SaludArte Foundation on projects that include concerts and workshops for people with special needs, in situations of social exclusion, or in hospitals or prisons. In collaboration with SaludArte, Lisarco Dance, and the New World Symphony, he took part in the collective creation of “Synergy,” a show for four musicians and five dancers that includes functionally diverse artists. “Synergy” was premiered in June of 2013 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and since has been staged in Barcelona, Valladolid, Madrid, Miami, Jerusalem, and Ramallah.

David has coached youth orchestras in Spain, France, Venezuela, Colombia, Japan, Korea, Singapore, and the USA, and was viola teacher for ten years at the Musikene Conservatory in San Sebastian, Spain.

After a recent two year stint in the USA teaching viola and chamber music at Ithaca College, in Fall of 2017 he returns to Europe to take up the position of Principal Viola with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Foto David Quiggle

Kjell Westö, writer

Kuva: Marica Rosengård Photo: Marica Rosengård